Maryland’s high traffic density, frequent auto thefts and many uninsured drivers make it surprising that the state’s typical auto insurance premium is only $7 above the national average. But of course, that varies depending on many factors. If you live in a city, have a history of accidents or drive a commonly stolen vehicle, you could see your costs rise dramatically.

But the good news is, it is possible to score a below-average rate as well. You just have to do your homework to find out which company offers you the best deal on the highest level of coverage. We’ve done some of the legwork for you, but you’ll have to compare quotes to find out which will offer you the most coverage at the best price.

Maryland Minimum Liability

All states require their drivers to carry some liability insurance, but the exact amount varies. In Maryland, you must have at least:

  • $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $15,000 property damage coverage per accident

This is often abbreviated as 30/60/15 coverage. Maryland is one of the few states to also require its residents to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in the same quantities listed above. Residents must also purchase $2,500 of personal injury protection (PIP), though this can be waived under certain conditions. More on that below.

Whenever possible, it’s better to purchase high coverage limits.

These minimums are high compared to the rest of the nation, but that doesn’t mean you should stop there.

It’s not uncommon for car accidents to exceed the state minimum coverage, especially if someone is injured. Our recommendation: Purchase as much liability coverage as you can comfortably afford, so you won’t be on the hook financially in the event of an accident.

If you’re looking to save on your auto insurance, don’t skimp in coverage; shop around instead. Every company looks at the same factors when determining premiums — your location, your driving record, your vehicle — but they weigh them all differently, and that can result in very different prices.

The only way to find the best deal is to get quotes from multiple companies and compare them. You can start by checking out the five companies listed below.

How We Found the Best Auto Insurance in Maryland

We used a similar methodology to the one in our national auto insurance review. First, we determined which were the largest companies in the state by market share. Then, we checked with financial strength ratings agencies like A.M. Best to ensure that they would have the resources to pay out when you need to file a claim. After that, it came down to what coverage options and endorsements each company had to offer.

We made sure they had all the basic coverages a driver will need, and we gave bonus points for unique protections that can’t be found elsewhere. We also looked into customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports to ensure that there won’t be any unpleasant surprises when the time comes to file a claim. Then, we called up local agents and got some quotes for ourselves to get a sense of their pricing and discounts.

Maryland Auto Insurance Reviews

Erie Insurance

Erie Insurance gave us our cheapest quote in Baltimore, and its rates are usually pretty affordable throughout the rest of the state as well. Unfortunately, there aren’t many discounts, so there isn’t much you can do to lower your rate if it’s high.

You can save by bundling home and auto, being a safe driver, paying in full and having safety devices installed on your vehicle, but beyond that, your only option for lowering premiums is choosing a higher deductible.

There are several endorsements available to help you customize your policy, including several that you won’t find with most other insurers. These include pet injury coverage, property protection coverage and new car replacement. You can also sign up for Diminishing Deductible. Every year you go without an accident, your collision deductible will decrease by $100 up to a maximum of $500.

The one area where Erie falls a little short is with its liability coverage limits. While companies like State Farm let you purchase up to 500/500/500, the most you can get with Erie is 250/500/100. In the case of a severe accident, this may not be enough coverage, so if you’re interested in higher limits, you may be more comfortable with State Farm.

According to the J.D. Power and Consumer Reports surveys, Erie is one of the best insurance companies you can work with. It received a perfect five out of five from J.D. Power and a 94 from Consumer Reports — far and away the highest ratings on this list. Hopefully, you won’t ever have to file a claim, but if you do, these ratings are a good indication that the process will be smooth and headache-free.

GEICO

GEICO also fared well in the customer satisfaction surveys, with both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports rating it above-average for the simplicity of the claims process, timeliness of the payment and fairness of the damage amount.

Its overall ratings were a step below Erie’s, with a three out of five from J.D. Power and an 89 from Consumer Reports, but these are still good numbers compared to the rest of the industry. Many companies only score a two out of five from J.D. Power and an 80 from Consumer Reports.

Our quote from GEICO fell in the middle of the pack, but it’s known for being one of the most affordable companies out there, especially if you can take advantage of its many discounts. In addition to the standard multi-policy, safe driver and multi-car discounts, you can also save by being a good student or being a member of one of GEICO’s affinity groups. Federal employees and military members are also entitled to special discounts.

Of course, there’s the option to choose a higher deductible as well. GEICO offers an impressive 10 deductible options ranging from $50 to $2,500. Few companies offer deductibles over $2,000, so GEICO is worth considering if you’re interested in a high-deductible policy.

While you can purchase up to $500,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage, you’re limited to a maximum of $100,000 of property damage coverage.

If you’re interested in higher policy limits, you should check out State Farm or Allstate. But GEICO may still be worth a closer look, especially if you’re interested in rare endorsements like mechanical breakdown coverage. GEICO is the only company on the list to offer this, and it pays for any repairs your vehicle needs that aren’t the result of an accident.

State Farm

State Farm gave us our most expensive quote, coming in about $150 more expensive than Erie’s.

It’s known for being a little more expensive than the other companies on this list, but it may still be worth a closer look if you’re interested in a policy with high liability coverage limits. You can purchase up to 500/500/500 coverage, which should be enough to cover even the most serious accidents.

State Farm doesn’t offer as many endorsements as some of the other companies on this list, but it offers ridesharing coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers and collision and comprehensive coverage for your vehicle. Like all insurers, State Farm requires you to pay a separate deductible for this. Comprehensive options range from $50 to $2,000, but the minimum collision deductible is $200, which is high compared to the rest of the industry.

There are some discounts available to help you bring your costs down. There are standard savings, like bundling home and auto, insuring multiple vehicles and maintaining a clean driving record.

Young drivers can reduce their rates by being a good student, being a student away at school and completing a driver training program. Signing up for State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save or Steer Clear programs will also net you some savings.

Allstate

Allstate is another good choice if you’re interested in a policy with high coverage limits. You can purchase up to 500/500/500 of liability coverage, which is the most that any insurance company offers.

Collision and comprehensive coverage is also available and may be required by your lender if you have a lease or loan on the vehicle. There are 11 deductible options, ranging from $50 to $2,000, and you can opt for no comprehensive deductible if you’d like.

Allstate was our second-most affordable quote, coming in just $12 per month behind Erie. It’s able to keep its rates pretty affordable thanks to its many discounts. There are savings for new car owners, vehicle safety features, paperless billing, enrolling in autopay and bundling home and auto. If your driving record qualifies you for Allstate’s Safe Driving Club, you’ll earn additional savings as well.

In addition to having the most discounts, Allstate also holds the record for the most endorsements. Some of its most impressive offerings are custom parts coverage, new car replacement and property protection, which are pretty rare in the industry. These options do cost extra, however, so your premiums will be higher if you choose to add them.

Nationwide

Nationwide scored in the middle of the pack in our quote analysis, and its minimum deductibles are high compared to the other companies on this list. While many companies enable you to choose no deductible for comprehensive claims, Nationwide requires at least $100 and collision deductibles start at $250.

Deductible options go as high as $5,000, so Nationwide is a good choice if you’re willing to accept a higher deductible in exchange for much lower premiums.

Nationwide offers some unique discount options, including its Family Plan. This allows all members of your household to take advantage of any discounts that you’ve earned. It’s a great option for families with teen drivers who are often expensive to insure.

Like Erie, Nationwide also a Vanishing Deductible endorsement that lowers your deductible by $100 every year you go without an accident up to a maximum of $500.

While Nationwide didn’t perform badly in J.D. Power and Consumer Reports’ surveys, its customer service was noted to be a step below the rest. It received a two out of five from J.D. Power, and Consumer Reports gave it an 88, mostly based on its policy offerings and price. But this isn’t a guarantee that you’ll run into problems when you need to file a claim. In fact, it fared pretty well in J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction survey.

More Tips for Maryland Drivers

Uninsured drivers are a big problem in Maryland.

If you’re caught without insurance, you’ll be fined $150 for the first 30 days and $7 per day for every day thereafter. You could also lose your vehicle’s registration or even your license. But that doesn’t stop more than 12 percent of the state’s drivers from flouting the law.

This is also a red flag for insurance companies because even if you are not at fault, your insurance company could still end up paying for the damages if you get into an accident with an uninsured driver.

Make sure you purchase enough uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Try to go with more than the minimum 30/60/15 coverage required by law. A good rule of thumb is to purchase as much uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as your liability coverage.

Car theft is common, too.

Maryland has the sixth-highest rate of auto thefts in the nation, and this also worries insurers. Theft is especially common in cities, so if you live in one, you can expect your auto insurance rates to be much higher than someone who lives in a rural area.

The most commonly stolen vehicles in Maryland are:

  • Honda Accord
  • Dodge Caravan
  • Toyota Camry
  • Honda Civic
  • Nissan Altima
  • Ford Pickup (Full-Size)
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee

If you drive one of these, you can also expect to see higher auto insurance rates.

If you're concerned about car theft, make sure you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle. If you have a lease or loan, your lender will require it of you, but it’s a good idea anyway. Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle if it was damaged in a non-collision-related accident. It also covers auto thefts.

You can waive your personal injury protection (PIP).

Maryland state law requires drivers to purchase $2,500 of personal injury protection (PIP), but there is an option to waive this if you’d like to reduce your premiums. You may only refuse coverage for yourself, any drivers listed on your policy and family members 16 and older. Children under 16 and pedestrians struck by a vehicle are still entitled to collect PIP even if you waive it for yourself.

Think carefully before you give it up, though. PIP pays for medical expenses and lost time at work due to a car accident, even if you were the one at fault. Your traditional auto insurance policy doesn’t do this. Medical bills get expensive quickly, and while you might be saving a little on your auto insurance premiums each month, you could end up costing yourself a lot in the long term if you get injured in an accident.

If you do decide to forego PIP coverage, you must fill out a waiver and submit it to the Maryland Department of Insurance.